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Yair Etziony: Delphi
The titles Yair Etziony's used for the second part in his Mist in the Corners trilogy refer to Ancient Greek Philosophy, with Delphi, of course, alluding to the Oracle of Delphi and “Know Thyself” and “Logos” referring to, respectively, a well-known phrase associated with Socrates and a term generally standing for knowledge and reason and linked to Heraclitus and Aristotle, among others—none of which one needs to know necessarily in coming to Etziony's follow-up to the first part, Baltia, even if the False Industries head does characterize it as a trip to mystical Greek culture realized through modern technological means.
There is, however, a significant way in which the album concept and musical content align. On a conceptual level, Delphi deals with the differences in thinking between then and now, specifically the degree to which Etziony believes ideas have grown decayed and degraded in our time. With that in mind, he fashioned his electro-acoustic music so that the material generated by analog and electronic instruments (analog synths, electric guitar, electric bass, field recordings) would be degraded, too, in this case by modular software and effects. The eight, largely beatless settings exude an ominous kosmische musik character that invites comparison to early works by Tangerine Dream (such as Zeit) and the relatively more recent barren dronescapes of Thomas Koner.
“Apollo” establishes an epic tone for the fifty-two-minute recording in its blend of subtle choral textures and foreboding synth patterns. Formal beats might be absent, but a throbbing rhythmic undercurrent is definitely present, a detail that firms up the connection to Tangerine Dream. The pulsations that lend the closing “Phython” a half-speed animation, on the other hand, call to mind Radioactivity-era Kraftwerk. “Agoria,” by comparison, flirts with ambient dub in the grainy sweep of its textural swirl, the music once again oozing unease, its low-pitched tones hinting at disturbance and discombobulation. The music emerges as if from fog, its clarity purposefully diminished by Etziony's treatments. Even hazier is “Hestia,” an exercise in diseased dark ambient that pulls the album down to its deepest subterranean level. Track differences notwithstanding, the material is generally murky, and never more so than during the title track.
Listeners with a jones for analog synthesizer recordings should find their appetites well-satisfied by Delphi, even if, consistent with its theme, it can present an at times oppressive and even suffocating listening experience. It'll be interesting to see where part three, scheduled to appear before year's end, takes us.